Source information from Baker Hughes. Image from Redditor Buckfost.

The North American rig count has fallen for the fifteenth straight week, but just how severe is the drilling downturn?

According to Baker Hughes the total U.S. rig count stood at 1,069 rigs as of March 20, a steep drop from 1,803 rigs active during the same time last year.

The rig count slide is even more dramatic when rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico and Canada are included.

The total North American rig count has tumbled from a high of 2,192 rigs to just 1,209 last week.

Texas has lost the most rigs of any state with drillers shedding 393 rigs since last year.

North American drillers ramped up drilling activity in 2011 sending the rig count up to about 1,400 just as oil prices climbed to $120 per barrel.

As the shale boom picked up steam in 2012 drillers added hundreds of rigs and brought the North American rig count to a peak of 1,600 just as crude prices started to slide.

While oil prices started plummeting in July the North American rig count has lagged behind changes in the commodities market.

But once drillers started curbing drilling activities to cope with record supplies and a 50 percent crude price drop the fall came hard and fast.

Shale wells have been particularly hard hit by the downturn.

U.S. drillers have dropped 377 horizontal wells and 236 vertical wells since March 2013.

The U.S. oil rig count has also been cut in half by the oil price rout, falling to 825 rigs last week from 1,473 rigs a year ago.



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